Why are people so against the Egyptian religion?

Why are people so against the Egyptian religion? [a general observation]

To cut this short; the message I have got from historians, is that the Hebrews were part of the Egyptian empire until conquered by the Assyrians, and it was they who enslaved then and not the Egyptians.
I presume that the bible was written ‘diplomatically’ so as to make the Egyptians into the aggressor rather than enrage the Persian empire which had given them their freedom.

There are many things in Hebrew thinking which appear to come from the Egyptians, the judgement, the confession, perhaps Apophis was the original devil [serpent of the underworld].

Apart from all this there is the question of where monotheism originated, maybe the Hebrews got the idea from the Persian Zoroastrians, but I think it more likely to have come from Akhenaton’s Egyptian monotheist revolution [esp as the Hebrews were part of their empire for so long].

shouldn’t the Egyptians be given their due respect for all their marvellous achievements in religion and spiritual philosophy, and stop being the ogre’s of the ancient world?


Are you sure that you have your timing right?

The Hebrew high moment (presuming they were Hebrew at the time) was at the time of Ahdam. The stories trickled from that point, but did not concern themselves with every event from there to the new testament.

I believe the naming of Ra, Isis, and so on came much later after the Hebrew version was pretty much forgotten by just about everyone but the few remaining Hebrews. Moses then kicked it back into the limelight.

I never knew anyone to be against the Egyptian religion so specifically, can you shed some light on this matter?

No ra and isis go back to the very beginnings of Egyptian religion, and had become very popular by the time of the 5th Dynasty; 2494 – 2487 BC. As far as I know that’s thousands of years before the Hebrews developed monotheism ~ which is arguably around 5-6thC BC. …at most it went back to around 1300 BC from info I have gleaned over the years, though that could be wrong, as I am no scholar on the subject for sure.

Really! Well I go to 8 different forums and mostly its just reading between the lines e.g. I recently had a debate concerning who were the first monotheists, a Persian chap said it was the Zoroastrians, and I pointed out that Akhenaton was 5-600 yrs earlier with his version of monotheism.

What I noticed was a lot of comments from people saying they like Zoroastrianism, but no one said the liked the Egyptians. As I say I was reading between the lines and over my lifetime generally I have noticed this. I presumed it was mainly due to misrepresentation of the Egyptians in the bible, films etc.


I imagine the bigger issue is that there isn’t a public group of people stating, “Our God is Ra” or “Anubis” or whichever (not in the West anyway).


I think you’re probably right on the money here. I’d also be willing to bet said diplomatic bias has contributed to the rape of ancient Egyptian culture by the West. We raid their tombs, exhume corpses and treasures, and then paint their societies as portraits of barbarism, mysticism, and decadence.

The Bible allows people to discount the culture as one that would inevitably perish, and thus be [rightfully] forgotten. In other words, perhaps the underlying bias is more a result of Egyptians being demonized and eventually overshadowed by Christianity.

Christianity”??!!?? (talk about bias)

The Israelites were to terrorists and marauders of the Egyptians who eventually fell into being merely the Juus, the Jews.

The Christians were the ones who stopped the Jews and allowed governments to BE governments void of terrorism. That is until Mohammadism came along sworn to destroy all that isn’t of them.

The rape of ancient sites isn’t an issue of any religion, but rather with simple human greed.

Oh brother, here we go…

Began with the Romans and Jews, yes. I’m talking about modern views of Egyptian culture, though – most often portrayed in relation to some biblical event. I’m not saying Christianity made a villain of all Egyptians, but of their ancient religious cultures.

Then why are we not exhuming our own wealthy ancestors for their riches and such? It is more than simply greed. There is willful disregard involved. Greed, or excessive desire, doesn’t necessarily imply a total lack of concern for all else.

Do you think we would rape their culture with the same zeal if we found Christian artifacts in their tombs, rather than those we consider ‘pagan’?

what 3000 yearold anceistrial artifact do you expect to find?

I guarantee you if anyone found (as a few have in the past) anything of value, they immediately try to take it for profit. If it isn’t protected from scavengers, it gets taken or torn up. The Egyptians merely had things buried from much earlier and weren’t themselves into modern secular profiteering. Most Christian relics were dug up or protected by the Catholics back 1500 years ago.

Chinese relics are sought as well. Anything OLD and sellable is the issue, not which religion it belonged to.

You’re right, man. If something is deemed valuable, there will always be someone willing to go the distance for it [regardless of ethical concerns].

I still believe we effectively side step accountability by labeling the artifacts “pagan”, and thus meaningless outside of a historical context.

In other words, I think you’re right in that greed is the main issue, but I think religious/cultural influences do play a role.

^^ agreed.

I couldn’t agree more! I doubt if it will ever be rectified, I cant see the bible being rewritten, though it wouldn’t take much; do ‘ctrl + h’ and replace Egyptians with Assyrians :stuck_out_tongue: .

Hmm naturally the exodus is a major part of the story, and it wouldn’t have the same impetus if it were told historically; ‘the Assyrians enslaved us [as they did everyone else in their empire], then the Persians let us go’ [as was their policy after the fall of Assyria]. :-" poor jews, or more like, poor everyone under virtually any given empire [except the persians, which was way ahead of its time].


After Egypt had been conquered and normalized within the Roman Empire*, Egypt actually became a sort of spiritual get-away. Think India in the '60s. People were all “into” the Egyptian religion, it was the new-age fad of its day. That is why most mystery cults were either lifted from the Egyptian religion or borrowed heavily from it. Because that influence was so pervasive, you’ll occasionally see the Egyptian gods spelled in different ways to distinguish between the Roman mystery cult version and the older Egyptian version (Isis vs. Aset, Ra vs. Re and so on). So I don’t think it is fair to say that people are or were against it. I really haven’t seen any evidence for that. What I have seen is a great deal of ignorance about it, which makes sense since there is very little (pretty much no) cultural continuity with that culture. It isn’t like Greco-Roman myths that were always sort of present and then exploded onto the scene in a big way with the Renaissance.

Take Akhenaton’s monotheism, for example. It wasn’t really a monotheism, other gods are explicitly mentioned within his system. It is an extreme form of monolatry where the other gods, while existing, ought not be worshipped in the same manner as the principle god Aton but that is different from true monotheism. Another thing to keep in mind is that it was a political, not a spiritual development. The Egyptian religion was very henotheistic so gods could and would combine and separate willy-nilly. That trend pre-dated Akhenaton by a long shot. All he did is take that trend to its logical conclusion. But the reason he did this has to do with how the 18th dynasty worked. Amenhotep I (dynastic founder) and Thutmose I were great conquerers and massively expanded the boarders of Egypt. Since they were away on military matters, the domestic sphere was effectively run by the cult of Amon. This domestic dominance was exacerbated by the young age at which many Pharaohs took the throne, leading to long regencies. By swapping out the principle god of the dynasty as well as moving the capital away from where the cult of Amon operated, Akhenaton was attempting to re-assert the role of the pharaoh as the autocrat as opposed to a merely ceremonial role.

I talked about this a little more here.

*which took a while, especially since Romans weren’t down with animal worship – one of the few cases were the Romans were openly intolerant of another religion.

that’s an interesting post xunzian, yea I noticed that later gods had been merged and swapped around, though I don’t know why that occured.

The ‘problem’ I am referring to is post christian and more related to now, the misrepresentation in the bible would naturally cast a dark light upon the Egyptian religion e.g. the jackal being seen as like the devil or a manifestation of evil. People certainly seam disinclined to accept the religion whilst being happy to accept just about everything else from Hinduism [which also has many gods] to Zoroastrianism.

I suppose any kind of monism is seen as more advanced and acceptable, though I feel that derives from the idea that the mental world is universal rather than particular. As far as I know the Egyptian religion also had a creation deity/deities, just as all pagan religions did. The main problem I think comes from trying to tie the gods to things in the world which are very transient, so it seams simpler to just have one universal diety.

I guess I’ve just never encountered that bias. Could you provide anything more substantial? I’ve never seen the jackal aligned with the devil, for example. Likewise, Anubis isn’t the most important god there is anyway . . . If it was, like, hawks as evil or something like that I could see a case being made. But that isn’t what we observe. Besides, wolves being evil has more to do with a herding culture.

As for people being more likely to give Zorastarianism the nod for influencing Judaism, that makes a good deal of sense. There are still Zorastarians out there, so in terms of that particular fight there is still a group of people in the ring. You can’t beat something with nothing, you know?

e.g. In ‘the omen’ and other horror films, I know its just a film but I got it as a general theme I encountered many times. I haven anything more solid, I am afraid, before people here asked I took it that just about everyone would have noticed, certainly Christians portray Egyptians as the antithesis of their beliefs ~ surely you have noticed that in the bible and in biblical films etc?


Indeed, it seams that the Hebrews also took from Egyptian religion which has judgement and confessional themes. Perhaps they also took from Akhenaton, ‘moses’ seams to be a derivative of tutmoses so has an Egyptian linguistic connection? That there was a time when they only had one city left [the Assyrians had conquered the rest of Judea] would also point to good reason from making their religion monotheistic, and that would put it before they encountered the Persians, so Akhenaton then becomes the more likely candidate ~ that is if they had become monotheistic at that point in their history. They also traded a lot so maybe Zoroastrianism in bactria was known to them.

I think you are reading too much into it. The only times I really notice that sort of a dichotomy is in dealing with Exodus and since the Egyptians are the bad guys there it makes sense . . .

From the thread I linked:

That does put us at around the right time too, since you’ve got the Armana period around 1300BCE and Exodus around 1400BCE.

Edit: I also wouldn’t read too much into the Thutmoses/moses connection since we really don’t know how Egyptian/Kemetic vowels worked. What we have is mostly guesswork and convention. Plus “Moses” would be grammatically complicated in Egyptian. Thutmoses means “Born of the god Thoth” so “Moses” alone is missing a subject. Plus, Moses’ (מֹשֶׁה) name is more like “Mosheh” covered by three characters whereas Thutmose is an anglicization of “dhwty-ms”, and the “MS” is covered by one character (the "weeping asterisk next to the crook). So we are comparing “MS” to “M SH H”. I’d be willing to say that there is no real linguistic connection there.

^^^ read the edit, ok that sounds right to me so i’ll go with your verdict. :slight_smile:

Interesting. I like to think that with Akhenaton there was a spiritual revolution aside from the politics, just as with the Hebrews there had been. So you agree the link between Akhenaton and Hebrew monotheism is likely. Perhaps it was a progression and took on Zoroastrian characteristics after contact with the Persians. That kinda makes sense given the geographic and political position of Israel.

I had some time back been informed that the Egyptian exodus never occurred, that the real exodus occurred when the Assyrians enslaved them ~ which is historical fact. Perhaps there were two exoduses?


I don’t know. But in the scenario I presented, it would make sense if Moses had just been a local magistrate. Since the Levant was part of Egypt at the time, there is no reason why there needs to be a separation between “Egypt” and “Israel”. Plus, as with all mythic histories, the blending of fact and fiction is going to be pretty damned high. Plus there is going to be a lot of cultural borrowing and blending.

I’m not even sure when the Israelites stopped being monolatrists and started being monotheists. These things don’t happen overnight.

Ok thanks.

btw how is thoth said?
Where you say;
Thutmose is an anglicization of “dhwty-ms”,

Does ‘th’ = dh? And that would sound like?

The best answer is that we don’t really know. We get some clues from Herodotus since he wrote down some of the gods’ names in Greek. But that sort of transcription/transliteration is going to be pretty weak – plus there are linguistic arguments about how ancient Greek sounded. Here are some wiki articles if you are interested:


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transliter … t_Egyptian